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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Daily Derby Update: Friday, April 25


BAYERN, CHITU, HOPPERUNITY – Hoppertunity jogged early Friday morning under exercise rider Dana Barnes for trainer Bob Baffert.

It was the first day back on the track for Hoppertunity who worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Wednesday. Mike Smith will ride Hoppertunity in Derby 140.

Chitu galloped after the morning renovation break with Barnes up while Alvarez was aboard Bayern.

A victory by Bayern in Saturday night’s Derby Trial would shake up the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. Bayern has 20 points, but he would move from 23rd to 19th because a victory that would be worth at least $93,000 and push his non-restricted stakes earnings past those of Vinceremos and Harry’s Holiday.

However, officials at the track say it appears unlikely that Baffert would wheel Bayern back in one week.


BIG BAZINGA – Big Bazinga galloped 1 1/2 miles after the renovation break with Loren Diego aboard.

Trainer Katerina Vassilieva was on hand to watch the morning activities of Big Bazinga who finished fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes in his previous start.

With a shot at the Derby looking increasingly unlikely, Vassilieva is contemplating a possible run in thw American Turf, for which the gelding would have to be supplemented.

“If we know we are not going to get in the Derby, we won’t train for it. That would be a good backup plan,” Vassilieva said. Big Bazinga finished second in his lone try on the turf.

“He will work tomorrow and we will consider our options and see where we are about the Derby.”


CALIFORNIA CHROME – California Chrome is scheduled to work Saturday morning at 7:30 Pacific Time at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome is scheduled to ship to Louisville on Monday and be ridden in Kentucky Derby 140 by Victor Espinoza.


CANDY BOY – Trainer John Sadler had Candy Boy on the track shortly after 6 o’clock Friday for a 1 ½-mile gallop under exercise rider Jelani Grant.

“I thought the track was excellent early because it was harrowed and not sealed,” Sadler said of the conditions following light showers overnight. “He galloped a little stronger today leading up to his work tomorrow.”

Gary Stevens is scheduled to work Candy Boy after the break Saturday.


COMMANDING CURVE – The third-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby, Commanding Curve, galloped a mile and a half Friday under exercise rider Emerson Chavez.

Trainer Dallas Stewart said Commanding Curve will work Saturday.

“He works solid,” Stewart said. “He’ll probably work a 1:01 five-eighths, that’s kind of a plan.”

Although, as of Friday, Commanding Curve remained out of the top 20 in points among possible Kentucky Derby entrants, Stewart said he’s not thinking about how the status of other horses might change.

Last year, Stewart finished second in the Derby with Golden Soul, who had moved into the top 20 days before race.

“Just have to wait and see,” Stewart said. “I just concentrate on training my horse and making sure I’m all in on everything I’m doing with him. I can’t control any of them.”


DANCE WITH FATE – Dance With Fate is scheduled to work Saturday morning on the turf at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton.

Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes in his most recent start, Dance With Fate is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Monday. Corey Nakatani has the Derby mount.


DANZA, INTENSE HOLIDAY, VINCEREMOS, WE MISS ARTIE – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s four Kentucky Derby probables galloped after the morning renovation break as they continued to train toward Derby 140. Pletcher plans to work all four colts on Sunday, weather permitting.

Danza was partnered by Ezequiel Perez, Nick Bush was on We Miss Artie, Isabelle Bourez was on Intense Holiday and Ovel Merida was on Vinceremos.


GENERAL A ROD, HARRY’S HOLIDAY, VICAR’S IN TROUBLE – Vicar’s in Trouble and Harry’s Holiday galloped Friday under exercise rider Joel Barrientos.

General a Rod, who worked Wednesday, returned to the track Friday to jog under Barrientos.

Vicar’s in Trouble, who won the Louisiana Derby and LeComte, and Harry’s Holiday, the Spiral runner-up, will work Saturday at distances to be decided, trainer Mike Maker said.

“Undecided” is still the jockey for Harry’s Holiday, said Maker, who laughed at the suggestion that Undecided is a good rider. “He’s always riding the card,” Maker said.

Harry’s Holiday, who has run on synthetic surfaces in his past four races, is handling the Churchill track well, Maker said. “He broke his maiden over this track,” he said. “He ran second in an allowance race on this track. So we don’t have any worries about that.”


MEDAL COUNT – Medal Count galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar for trainer Dale Romans.

Runner-up in the Blue Grass Stakes in his most recent start, Medal Count is scheduled to work after the break in the morning.

Robby Albarado has the Derby mount.


PABLO DEL MONTE - Pablo Del Monte worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 in company Saturday morning at Keeneland.

John Velazquez rode Pablo Del Monte, who worked in company with High Wire Kitten.

“We broke him off about 15 lengths behind today, and he kinda creeped up on her and got her at the wire,” Ward said. “The time was maybe a little quicker than I wanted, but he had a nice breeze.”

Clockers caught Pablo Del Monte in fractions of :47.60, 1:11.20 and out in 1:25.

Ward said Pablo Del Monte likely would ship to Churchill Downs Tuesday evening. If the connections of horses with more points opt not to enter Wednesday, Pablo Del Monte could find a place in the starting gate and become Ward’s first starter in the race.

“It looks like we are waiting for the Preakness, still,” he said, “but you gotta be there and be ready. It would be an honor to be in the race, especially with a horse like him. He just ran a valiant race. (Churchill) is sort of a speed-favoring track, so you gotta be ready. With him being a front-runner, he probably would be on the lead in the race. If you could win or run second or third in the Kentucky Derby, it would just be the thrill of a lifetime.”


RIDE ON CURLIN – Ride On Curlin galloped a mile and a quarter Friday under exercise rider Bryan Beccia.

“I think we’re getting good,” trainer Billy Gowan said. “I sure like the way he went today.”

Groom Bridget Lambert, who led Ride On Curlin off the track, also is optimistic. “They’ve got to outrun him,” Lambert said. “He’s peaking at the right time.”

Gowan, who worked Ride On Curlin six days before he finished second in the Arkansas Derby, is sticking with the same spacing and will work the colt Sunday.

“There’s no reason to change anything now,” Gowan said.


RING WEEKEND – Ring Weekend worked six furlongs on dirt in 1:12.80 at Fair Hill Training Center.

Trainer Graham Motion said Ring Weekend worked on his own under Robbie Walsh and would ship to Churchill Downs on Monday.

Alan Garcia has the Derby mount on Ring Weekend.


SAMRAAT – Trainer Rick Violette followed form Friday and had Samraat breeze a mile in his final pre-Derby work. Under veteran exercise rider Rodney Taime, the colt covered the distance in 1:45.91 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“The target was 1:45 and let him finish a little bit after a bunch of :13’s,” Violette said. “I was more concerned today about going too fast. He’s fit. He’s danced at all the dances and he’s run well off this type of mile. We wanted to do that without squeezing too much. They got him in 1:45 4/5 and I got him in 1:46. It was terrific. He actually galloped out another eighth in :12 and change.

“It was exactly what we asked for. He finished well, cooled out well and scoped well. He’s eating his lunch. All systems are great.”

The one-mile prerace work has been part of the program for the son of Noble Causeway and Violette stayed with that routine prior to the Kentucky Derby.

“It has worked for him since before his first start going two turns, the Damon Runyon,” Violette said. “We kind of backed into it and he seemed to thrive off it and we’ve done that before all of his last races, including the Wood.”

Taime, who has worked for Violette four about 11 years, was able to give the veteran trainer the time that he requested.

“It’s easy to make mistakes going that far,” Violette said. “If you go off in :12 and change and you think you’ve gone off in :14, a mile in 1:45 can easily turn into a mile in 1:39 or 1:40 and that would have been too much. It’s quite important that you nail the early fractions.”

He will be flown to Louisville from New York Monday afternoon.


SOCIAL INCLUSION – Rontos Racing Stable’s Social Inclusion, who worked Thursday at Gulfstream Park, likely will not make the trip to Churchill Downs confirmed owner Ronald Sanchez.


UNCLE SIGH – Uncle Sigh worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 over the Belmont Park Training Track with Nick Santagata aboard for trainer Gary Contessa.

“I had him galloping out in 1:13 and the mile in 1:43. It was perfect; Nick hit it right on the head,” Contessa said.

Uncle Sigh is scheduled to van to Churchill Downs on Saturday with a scheduled departure of 4 a.m. from Belmont.

“He will jog Sunday,” said Contessa, who plans to be at the track that day. “I may do something with him Wednesday, but it will be a gut feeling.”


WICKED STRONG - Wicked Strong worked seven furlongs under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal in 1:27.11 Friday morning on the training track at Belmont Park. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens wanted the colt to go around two turns on the the one-mile oval, so Pahal started the work at the work at the half-mile pole, finished up at the five-eighths pole and galloped another furlong to get a mile.

“I said between between 1:27 and 1:28, gallop out an extra eighth and that’s it, just pull him up,” Jerkens said. “I thought he went perfect.”

Jerkens said that Wicked Strong, winner of the Wood Memorial, turned in a consistent effort in his final work before the Kentucky Derby.

“It was nice. It was good,” Jerkens said. “He went the first eighth in :13 and every one after that was almost exactly the same. He went good. He went real good.”

Jerkens said he timed the colt getting the half-mile in :49.80 and galloped out the mile in 1:40.40. “He had plenty of energy. I thought he looked great,” Jerkens said. “He worked good and cooled out quick. We’re very happy.”

Jerkens has finalized his shipping plans. The colt will ride on a van from New York to Louisville with Jerkens and Pahal following in a car. Jerkens said they plan to begin what he expects to be a 14-hour trip at 2 p.m. Saturday and will arrive Sunday morning.


WILDCAT RED - Wildcat Red galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Juan Belmonte up.

Wildcat Red, who arrived here from Florida on Tuesday, had galloped 1 1/8 miles the previous two mornings.

Trainer Jose Garoffalo was en route to Louisville from the sales in Ocala and plans to be at the barn Saturday morning. Garoffalo said Wildcat Red would work Sunday with jockey Luis Saez aboard.


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